Hidden Lives

The illuminating human interest strand continues with this eye-opening profile of three couples who spend their lives in the nude. These fearless parents fly in the face of conformity to bare all, sometimes to the horror of their neighbours and children. This lighthearted film explores the reasons behind their naturism and studies the effect their lifestyle has on their children.

Barbara and Ian are a quintessentially English, middle-class couple. They own and maintain the spectacular 16th-century Abbey House Gardens in the quaint village of Malmesbury, Wiltshire, where they live with their two sons, Rufus and Kian. But Barbara and Ian are not quite typical parents – they are dedicated naturists. They have no qualms about serving dinner to their sons and their sons’ friends in the nude, and have become famous to locals and tourists alike for their love of naked gardening.

Ian and Barbara’s commitment to letting it all hang out in public has generated a lot of negative attention in this overwhelmingly conservative Cotswold town. So why do they pursue such an unusual lifestyle? For Ian, his eccentric beliefs stem from a lifelong opposition to conformity. But for former model Barbara, the decision to go nude was rather more complex, as she was aware that her nudity might attract a lot of attention from the male population – for all the wrong reasons.

Both Ian and Barbara are comfortable with their decision to shed their clothes, but they recognise their lifestyle can have an unsettling effect on 15- year-old Rufus and 11-year-old Kian. Rufus especially has been teased at school and around the town by gangs of boys who mock his parents for their habits. Both children talk openly and sensitively about what it is like coping with naked parents. On the one hand, they are proud of their mum and dad’s bold choice; at the same time, they sometimes wish they could live without the attention it creates.

In the middle of Oxfordshire, Les and Sharon pursue a similar life of nudity. Larger-than-life Les resembles an aging rock star. He smokes, drinks, keeps a ferret and rules the roost of his family, which includes two grown-up sons and their partners. A self-proclaimed exhibitionist, Les delights at being in the public eye, while Sharon is a more reluctant follower.

Les and Sharon’s sons, Stewart and Sean, talk freely about the teasing they have received from friends over their parents’ clothes-free lives. Stewart’s fiancée, Rachel, describes her first experience of meeting an unapologetic Les in his birthday suit in the family kitchen, without any prior warning from Stewart.

Elsewhere, the film meets David and Dianne, another ardent pair of nudists. When Dianne first moved in with David, she had no idea he was a naturalist. Size 22 Dianne has always had issues about her weight, so the notion of stripping off and putting everything on display was a difficult one to absorb. But over time, Dianne and her son gradually began to partake of David’s lifestyle. Dianne is now eternally grateful to David for helping her accept her body as it is. Nudism has helped her find her place in a world obsessed with stick-thin, size-zero models. Now happier and more confident, she feels she has become a better mother because of her nakedness. But has Dianne put herself first over the wishes of her child? And can naked parents be responsible parents when their choice of lifestyle creates so many difficulties for their kids?

The illuminating human interest strand continues with this eye-opening profile of three couples who spend their lives in the nude. These fearless parents fly in the face of conformity to bare all, sometimes to the horror of their neighbours and children. This lighthearted film explores the reasons behind their naturism and studies the effect their lifestyle has on their children.

Barbara and Ian are a quintessentially English, middle-class couple. They own and maintain the spectacular 16th-century Abbey House Gardens in the quaint village of Malmesbury, Wiltshire, where they live with their two sons, Rufus and Kian. But Barbara and Ian are not quite typical parents – they are dedicated naturists. They have no qualms about serving dinner to their sons and their sons’ friends in the nude, and have become famous to locals and tourists alike for their love of naked gardening.

Ian and Barbara’s commitment to letting it all hang out in public has generated a lot of negative attention in this overwhelmingly conservative Cotswold town. So why do they pursue such an unusual lifestyle? For Ian, his eccentric beliefs stem from a lifelong opposition to conformity. But for former model Barbara, the decision to go nude was rather more complex, as she was aware that her nudity might attract a lot of attention from the male population – for all the wrong reasons.

Both Ian and Barbara are comfortable with their decision to shed their clothes, but they recognise their lifestyle can have an unsettling effect on 15- year-old Rufus and 11-year-old Kian. Rufus especially has been teased at school and around the town by gangs of boys who mock his parents for their habits. Both children talk openly and sensitively about what it is like coping with naked parents. On the one hand, they are proud of their mum and dad’s bold choice; at the same time, they sometimes wish they could live without the attention it creates.

In the middle of Oxfordshire, Les and Sharon pursue a similar life of nudity. Larger-than-life Les resembles an aging rock star. He smokes, drinks, keeps a ferret and rules the roost of his family, which includes two grown-up sons and their partners. A self-proclaimed exhibitionist, Les delights at being in the public eye, while Sharon is a more reluctant follower.

Les and Sharon’s sons, Stewart and Sean, talk freely about the teasing they have received from friends over their parents’ clothes-free lives. Stewart’s fiancée, Rachel, describes her first experience of meeting an unapologetic Les in his birthday suit in the family kitchen, without any prior warning from Stewart.

Elsewhere, the film meets David and Dianne, another ardent pair of nudists. When Dianne first moved in with David, she had no idea he was a naturalist. Size 22 Dianne has always had issues about her weight, so the notion of stripping off and putting everything on display was a difficult one to absorb. But over time, Dianne and her son gradually began to partake of David’s lifestyle.

Dianne is now eternally grateful to David for helping her accept her body as it is. Nudism has helped her find her place in a world obsessed with stick-thin, size-zero models. Now happier and more confident, she feels she has become a better mother because of her nakedness. But has Dianne put herself first over the wishes of her child? And can naked parents be responsible parents when their choice of lifestyle creates so many difficulties for their kids?

FIVER has unveiled a second raft of both acquired and exclusively commissioned programming, as part of its new refreshed schedule, it was announced today (THUR).

FIVER will premiere the fourth series of Five’s successful human interest documentary series, Hidden Lives, alongside US acquisitions Intervention, Ocean Force and The Shot. Plus, Hotel Inspector Unseen has been commissioned exclusively for FIVER.

This latest line-up of programmes will play alongside: the second series of the acclaimed Courteney Cox drama, Dirt; the hit US series from VH1 Celebrity Rehab; Glamour’s Best Dressed List 2008; Madventures; and Sex and the City.

Intervention (5x 60mins) is the powerful and emotionally gripping documentary series which follows the stories of people whose lives are in crisis due to a dependency on drugs, alcohol or other addictive issues. The central characters are forced to confront their darkest demons through an unsolicited intervention from their friends and family. It’s their last chance to save both themselves and their relationships, or face the threat that those they love will walk out of their lives forever.

Hidden Lives (5x 60mins) is the documentary series that unearths some of the most incredible real-life human interest stories from around the world. Including:

Wedding Addicts takes a look at the hidden lives of those addicted to marriage, and asks why some people marry again…and again…and again; Sweaty Betty examines the plight of women who suffer from a condition which can cause them to sweat up to five times more than normal; Female Hoarders looks at the phenomenon of serial hoarding and the impact it has on the lives of the people who do it, and the people who live with it; Naked Parents follows the private lives of some of the UK’s most unusual couples, and the parents who conduct their daily lives nude in the company of their clothed family and friends; and Night Bingers takes a look at the lives of people who suffer from this extraordinary condition, and the victims who not only eat, but cook a meal, while fast asleep.

In The Shot (8x 45mins), ten amateur photographers are given the chance to live out their wildest fantasies in pursuit of their ultimate dream, to become the next greatest fashion photographer. Aspiring photographers embark on a series of photo shoots designed to challenge their creativity and expose their individual weaknesses. They travel to exotic locations and work with supermodels and high-end professionals, all in order to capture that one perfect shot. The best photographer will emerge and be crowned the show’s winner, thus launching his or her professional career.

This US action packed series, Ocean Force (12x 30mins), follows the work of US lifeguards and coast police. Set on Hermosa Beach and Panama City Beach, the lifeguards on duty are trained to handle everything from drunken brawls to dangerous open water rescues, traffic violations to life threatening injuries.

Hotel Inspector Unseen is a six-part companion series to the main show on Five. It delves deeper into the failing hotels, going beyond the shabby rooms and the shoddy service to find out why they need to be rescued from going under. With exclusive video diary footage and never before seen moments, Hotel Inspector Unseen will reveal all the tears and tantrums and the trials and tribulations as the hotels and the hotel owners are transformed.

Director of Programmes for FIVER and Five US, Hannah Barnes, said: “I’m delighted to be able to announce this exciting new line up of commissions and acquisitions for FIVER. Each one is a brilliant addition to the refreshed FIVER schedule.”

Intervention is produced by GRB Entertainment, Inc. for A&E Network, acquired for FIVER.

Hidden Lives is produced by Raw TV, Gecko, Cicada, Yipp Films and October Films for FIVER.

The Shot is a Two Cities Production acquired for FIVER.

Ocean Force is an Originals Production, acquired from RDF Rights for FIVER.

Hotel Inspector Unseen is a TwoFour Production for FIVER.

sweaty betty: hidden lives

It is often remarked that ladies do not sweat, they perspire – yet some women really do suffer from a medical condition that provokes near-constant sweating. Hyperhidrosis can lead to frequent embarrassment and discomfort as even simple activities leave sufferers dripping wet. Hidden Lives meets the women who struggle with this rarely acknowledged condition and follows their individual journeys in search of a solution.

Among the women featured is American Anne Schouveller, who has become an expert in hyperhidrosis since being diagnosed with it seven years ago. She has set up a website called ‘Sweaty Betty’ to raise awareness of the condition. Anne candidly shares her experience of this mortifying affliction, which embarrasses her 12year-old daughter and forces the whole family to adapt their activities around her sweating.

The programme also explores the story of a cheerful 19-year-old woman whose facial sweating impacts on her social life and is aggravated by her job working in a hairdresser’s. Will a course of botox injections end her lifelong struggle with hyperhidrosis?

Meanwhile, a 35-year-old mum believes the solution to her unstoppable armpit sweating may lie in complex ETS surgery – but other women claim to have suffered side effects from the procedure. Is there any surefire way to tackle this little-known and poorly understood condition?

wedding addicts: hidden lives (1/4)

The illuminating human interest strand returns tonight with another documentary exploring unusual lives and remarkable people. At a time when the number of marriages in the UK is in decline, there are some people valiantly bucking the trend and getting married not just once, but again and again. This documentary takes a look at the lives of those addicted to marriage, asking why they do it, what makes so many people walk down the aisle with them, and what happens to the trail of partners and children left behind.

A wedding is supposed to be a once-in-a-lifetime event, but for Ron, Sandra, Pat and Martin, it is something they have experienced a number of times. With eight marriages under his belt, former Pontins bluecoat Ron has been dubbed the ‘most married man in Britain’. Meeting a woman at the holiday camp, marrying her, then divorcing her when the season started again became a regular event for Ron. “A lot of the times I was married to holiday centres rather than my wives. Showbusiness was like a mistress to me,” he claims. But his daughter, Kelly, sees it differently: “There’s been a lot of heartache, especially where the children are concerned,” she says. “I just want him to make it up to us.”

Sandra, meanwhile, has been hailed as the ‘Liz Taylor of Clydebank’. The town may not be quite as glamorous as Beverly Hills, but Sandra has one thing in common with the Hollywood actress: she has been married seven times, and twice to the same man. After marrying love-of-her-life George for the second time, she thought she had finally found happiness –until he jilted her just months after the wedding when she became ill. But, ever the romantic, Sandra is still searching for Mr Right: “What am I supposed to do?” she asks. “Give up on life and just sit on my sofa all day? No way!”

Pat has been married ten times –but only six of them have been legal. After one marriage broke down, Pat met someone else, decided not to wait for her divorce to come through, and remarried anyway. “I was stood at the altar half expecting the doors to swing open and the police to take me away,” she remembers. “But they never did.” After three more bigamous marriages, Pat finally gave herself in to the authorities. She is now happily married to her tenth husband, Malcolm. “It took me ten times to find my Mr Right, but I’ve found him!” she declares.

Martin’s seven marriages broke down because he was not willing to abandon the true love of his life –Liverpool FC. When one of his wives decided to replace Martin’s Reds rug with something a little more feminine, it was the final straw and was quickly followed by divorce. So what has Martin learned from his marital experiences? “Women marry you then try and change you. Women let you down, but Liverpool Football Club will never let me down,” he concludes.

sweaty betty: hidden lives

It is often remarked that ladies do not sweat, they perspire – yet some women really do suffer from a medical condition that provokes near-constant sweating. Hyperhidrosis can lead to frequent embarrassment and discomfort as even simple activities leave sufferers dripping wet. Hidden Lives meets the women who struggle with this rarely acknowledged condition and follows their individual journeys in search of a solution.

Among the women featured is American Anne Schouveller, who has become an expert in hyperhidrosis since being diagnosed with it seven years ago. She has set up a website called ‘Sweaty Betty’ to raise awareness of the condition. Anne candidly shares her experience of this mortifying affliction, which embarrasses her 12year-old daughter and forces the whole family to adapt their activities around her sweating.

The programme also explores the story of a cheerful 19-year-old woman whose facial sweating impacts on her social life and is aggravated by her job working in a hairdresser’s. Will a course of botox injections end her lifelong struggle with hyperhidrosis?

Meanwhile, a 35-year-old mum believes the solution to her unstoppable armpit sweating may lie in complex ETS surgery – but other women claim to have suffered side effects from the procedure. Is there any surefire way to tackle this little-known and poorly understood condition?

wedding addicts: hidden lives

The illuminating human interest strand returns tonight with another documentary exploring unusual lives and remarkable people. At a time when the number of marriages in the UK is in decline, there are some people valiantly bucking the trend and getting married not just once, but again and again. This documentary takes a look at the lives of those addicted to marriage, asking why they do it, what makes so many people walk down the aisle with them, and what happens to the trail of partners and children left behind.

A wedding is supposed to be a once-in-a-lifetime event, but for Ron, Sandra, Pat and Martin, it is something they have experienced a number of times. With eight marriages under his belt, former Pontins bluecoat Ron has been dubbed the ‘most married man in Britain’. Meeting a woman at the holiday camp, marrying her, then divorcing her when the season started again became a regular event for Ron. “A lot of the times I was married to holiday centres rather than my wives. Showbusiness was like a mistress to me,” he claims. But his daughter, Kelly, sees it differently: “There’s been a lot of heartache, especially where the children are concerned,” she says. “I just want him to make it up to us.”

Sandra, meanwhile, has been hailed as the ‘Liz Taylor of Clydebank’. The town may not be quite as glamorous as Beverly Hills, but Sandra has one thing in common with the Hollywood actress: she has been married seven times, and twice to the same man. After marrying love-of-her-life George for the second time, she thought she had finally found happiness –until he jilted her just months after the wedding when she became ill. But, ever the romantic, Sandra is still searching for Mr Right: “What am I supposed to do?” she asks. “Give up on life and just sit on my sofa all day? No way!”

Pat has been married ten times –but only six of them have been legal. After one marriage broke down, Pat met someone else, decided not to wait for her divorce to come through, and remarried anyway. “I was stood at the altar half expecting the doors to swing open and the police to take me away,” she remembers. “But they never did.” After three more bigamous marriages, Pat finally gave herself in to the authorities. She is now happily married to her tenth husband, Malcolm. “It took me ten times to find my Mr Right, but I’ve found him!” she declares.

Martin’s seven marriages broke down because he was not willing to abandon the true love of his life –Liverpool FC. When one of his wives decided to replace Martin’s Reds rug with something a little more feminine, it was the final straw and was quickly followed by divorce. So what has Martin learned from his marital experiences? “Women marry you then try and change you. Women let you down, but Liverpool Football Club will never let me down,” he concludes.

Monday 23 April

raised by the hand of god: hidden lives (4/6) 21.00–22.00

According to Reverend Paul Bucknall, “if a parent does not chastise a child, a parent does not love a child.” Paul, who lives with his family in Pittsburgh, is one of a significant number of parents in the US whose ideas on the upbringing and disciplining of their children are directly informed by the Bible. In this latest in Five’s revealing and thought-provoking Hidden Lives strand, Paul and his family, together with two other families – one American, one English – talk candidly about their Biblical Parenting methods. In an age when the smacking of children is becoming increasingly taboo, does their belief in corporal punishment as the best form of discipline have any place?

Paul and his wife Linda raise their ten children according to strict guidelines, which they believe are supported by passages from the Bible. The Bucknall children are schooled at home using textbooks such as ‘Observing God’s World’, and come together twice a day for ‘devotion’ – a session involving prayer, singing and the recital of Biblical passages. They are also responsible for a number of household chores, and their access to television is largely limited to watching videos about the adventures of the Buttercream Gang, which carry clear moral messages. But the most controversial tenet is their insistence on physically chastising their offspring, usually using wooden ‘rods’ (“Scripture uses the word rods”, Paul points out) which are taken from bushes in the garden. For Paul, who sells Biblical Parenting manuals on-line, the approach is “new, modern and the way we should go. It’s exciting.”

Families like the Bucknalls are widespread in the States, but in the UK, Dover residents the Englands are still relatively unusual. Like the Bucknalls, Kevin and Beverley England school their children in their home, where Beverley has set up ‘offices’, separated from each other by makeshift partitions, where each child can work without distraction, pausing occasionally to raise a flag if they need assistance. And like the Bucknalls, Kevin and Beverley believe that children are inherently disobedient, and that corporal punishment is the best way of checking this tendency. Beverley, who uses a spatula to deliver punishments “because it’s flexible” sees her role as “pointing [the children] in the right direction.”

Joey Salvati, who lives in a small town in Pennsylvania, takes his belief in Biblical Parenting further than either the Bucknalls or the Englands. Following instructions he says he received from God while praying in the shower, Joey and his daughter use their carpentry skills to make paddles that parents can use on their children, and distributes them by the roadside. He claims to have even received rules on how many strokes are necessary for different levels of disobedience.

Smacking, although still legal in England and the US, has been outlawed in a number of countries. Should it become illegal in the UK, the Englands’ respect for authority means that they would stop using it on their children, but Beverley says that they would “lobby and fight and not just go along with it.” Their determination to maintain this way of life is so firm because they believe the alternative would be, in the words of the 21-year-old daughter Holly, “catastrophic.”

The children in all three families share the convictions of their parents, and see the chaotic world of their peers, who drink, take drugs, get arrested and have multiple partners, as the result of a failure to correctly discipline children. As far as Holly is concerned, while her family may be out of step with prevailing mores, “as a Christian, you believe that the Bible doesn’t change, and God doesn’t change.”

hidden lives

The human interest documentary strand continues its third series of surprising real life stories. The six hour-long programmes feature more incredible tales from around the world, focusing on unusual and sometimes alarming personal stories.

Next week’s episode, ‘Three in a Bed’, looks at some of contemporary Britain’s most extreme relationships. The programme follows households in the UK who have chosen to live their lives as a threesome, sleep together every night in the same bed as a three, and bring up their children in a three-parent family.

It all started conventionally enough for John from Wales, a 36-year-old electrician, and his wife Shanea, a 35-year-old housewife and part-time model – a three month whirlwind romance, marriage and three kids. Then Shanea met Noel, a 30-year-old teacher from Ipswich. She had his baby, moved him into the family home and invited him to share the marital bed. All seems to be going swimmingly so far, but can such a relationship last?

Elsewhere Dean, a 26-year-old graphic designer and Davina, a 25-year-old librarian, married four years ago. Like many Australians they have settled in London, but unlike most, they are living with another ‘girlfriend’ –Jen. The two girls are bisexual and Dean is not complaining. In next week’s programme, however, Dean must phone home and tell his mum all about his new-found happiness. How will she take the news that her son is living such an unorthodox lifestyle on the other side of the world?

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